Saturday, May 27, 2006


At work, in the magazine exchange, a new-to-me magazine has been appearing. It's called Real Simple. I've been curious to know if it contained any articles that would interest me and my transportation (and to a lesser extent my life) simplification. I found an answer to the question.

In the mailbox was Issue Two (my first) of Geez Magazine. Geez Magazine published the Demotorizing My Soul article I liked so much.
"We're not meant to go that fast. It's just too hard on the spirit. So I quit air travel. Planted my feet on the ground, tuned up my old bicycle and set my conscience at ease."
Apparently the theme for the current issue is The Lighter Side of Less. Within the pages I discovered this pseudo-ad:

(Click the image for a better view of the text at the bottom)


I'm taking another week off from posting. I'll be back the second week of June.

Don't forget me when I'm gone.

(Thanks George)


PS. My The Wife woke up and experimented with her own The MinusAC Project today. She never turned it on. I never turned it on. At supper I made sure to say I had no expectations that it needed to be off. It stayed off.

Today's high outside: 87
Today's high inside: 86

The Boys, perhaps they don't know enough about what's normal to complain. They fully enjoyed their cool baths, that for sure.


PPS. Matt from Two Cities Two Wheels is reporting his experiences from the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour. Go see his report! The pictures alone are worth it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Focus on Focus: Global Warming

I tried to resist. It's been banging around my head since Monday. If he's going to keep talking about it, I'm going to keep writing about it. Sorry.

Dr James Dobson opened his Friday May 19 radio show with a Focus on the Family position statement on global warming.

The highlights for me were:
"Now, we’ve not weighed in on this environmental concern in the past but people are asking us how we see it and I think it’s time that we responded."
Well you haven’t weighed in since April 27th. The fact that people are asking is remarkable and encouraging to me!
"A Vice President for the Nation Association of Evangelicals (NAE) Richard Cizik is convinced that global warming should be the most important social issue that confronts us. In fact, he has stated recently (last week) that those who are skeptical of global warming are immoral. That is pretty close to being a quote."
'That is pretty close to being a quote' means it isn’t a quote. While I don’t think it’s impossible that Cizik said this, I think it’s unlikely.
"As such, we believe that Richard Cizik and his colleagues are dividing evangelicals and setting them at odds with each other, as though we have to choose between that issue and the others that we feel so strongly about."
Interesting, I remember feeling the same way about Dr Dobson May 5.
"What Richard Cizik and his associates want us to do is roll back the use of fossil fuels (oil) to the 1998 levels, or even earlier, which would paralyze industry and put millions of people out of work."
This is an appeal to fear.

This roll back was approved by our conservative republican US Senate last year as a reasonable approach to the problem of reducing fossil fuel use.

I know a guy who has rolled back his automobile use to pre-1988 levels. Guess what? He’s found more time to spend with his family. When they go places they go together, he doesn’t just drive them. Sometimes the trips even turn into adventures!

Just tonight his The Family, plus a neighbor girl walked together to the community garden to check out the miracle of vegetables! On the way home his The Wife said something like, “thanks for getting us all to walk to the garden. The Boys are so comfortable walking through the neighborhood.” That’s pretty close to being a quote too.
"The net effect is anti-capitalistic and an underlying hatred for America."
This is a divisive statement. This statement sets me at odds with other people. Additionally, Dr Dobson should try to avoid conversations about who does and does not hate America.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Highlights From the Road

Five flat tires since May 1. J-kid at The LBS thinks I consume an awful lot of carbon dioxide cartridges. I think he suspects I have an addiction.

On the way home today I got yelled at by the driver of a car full of people. I didn’t fully hear them but I’m pretty sure they were simply expressing their concern for my safety…after they failed to yield properly before attempting a right turn into my immediate path. This failure to yield was caused by their failure to look properly for traffic before attempting the maneuver. I appreciate their concern. Yes, drivers are unattentive and what I’m doing is dangerous, thank you.

At lunch I enjoyed a conversation about whether I rode bike on the roads or sidewalks. I answered with my standard, “it’s far safer to ride on the roads and act like a vehicle.” They thought that sounded funny. To them it was like I was making a choice between drinking sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid.

This morning I downloaded an mp3 of my friend and riding buddy. He’s known around here as The Pastor. He preached Sunday. He took some risks with some prophetic preaching. He mentioned The MinusCar Project. Interesting. At least one commenter has posted a reaction to Sunday but I have no IDEA what post it's attached it to.

Wednesday was get-your-fix for free day. Apparently there was free gas available that morning at a specific station. I rode right through the area on my way to work oblivious to what was going on. I noticed some unusual police traffic control. I saw the KSFY truck and waved at the driver. He was the cameraman that took all the good pictures in this article. It wasn’t till I got to work that I learned of the free gas. The cameraman, seeing me in the context of the free gas story he was probably covering at that moment is a pretty sweet coincidence. I wish I could have been sitting in that line, burning gas, waiting for some free stuff. Just me and my addiction. The first step is admitting I have a problem, right?

Finally, Craig Gross from xxxChurch, co-operator of the #1 Christian Porn Site, and co-creator of National Porn Sunday, took the pulpit at Imago Dei Sunday. I’m not sure where he took it. I hope he gives it back.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Report: May 15-21

Trips -
MinusCar: 13
Multi-occupant Auto: 9
Single occupant Auto: 2

My Car Miles: 42
My Bike Miles/Hours: 99.1/7.2

Report: May 8-14

Trips -
MinusCar: 12
Multi-occupant Auto: 12
Single occupant Auto: 8

My Car Miles: 27
My Bike Miles/Hours: 79.4/5.8

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Weekend

Disc Golf - I played two rounds of disc golf. One Saturday with KT and DDD, a course we’d never played before. We spent a bunch of time wandering aimlessly.

Sunday I played alone as part of my personal biathlon embedded in a biathlon. That includes 26 miles on the bike punctuated by a round of speed disc golf. Score speed disc golf by combining the number of shots plus the number of minutes on the course. I got 94.12.

The Lake (1000 words)

The Flowers – it’s not really a weekend thing, but they sure look nice.

Bike 2 Work Day

Did you ride?

I hooked up with WorkMateNH at 7am for the ride to the park. We met WorkMateMP along the way. We were too late for bagels but I enjoyed some tasty GoGurt. On the way out they both stopped at the bus and became officially trained in the use of the bike racks. The Owner and The Pastor got themselves trained as well. I didn't see it happen by I understand The Dad got trained too.

WorkMateMP followed up his morning ride with a trip home for lunch because (as we suspected all along) he’s the one who’s been letting the dogs out. The smart money was on him driving his car back after that…he didn’t. He’s impressive like that.

WorkMateNH and I enjoyed a much shorter ride home, including a with-the-wind finishing stretch.

Once at my home we encircled and took turns hugging the new tree a greenhouse planted behind our house. Actually we didn’t hug it, or encircle it. The planting of it didn’t really have anything to do with Bike 2 Work Day either, but it makes a nice story.

Bike 2 Work Day was fun, and easier than I expected. I think I'll ride again Monday.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Actual Google Searches By Actual People

If they weren't, would I be able to go like this?

Best. Search. Ever.

It seems a reader from Virginia got themselves into a bit of trouble recently. Hope they find what they're looking for.

And because I know you're curious, search it yourself - here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's A Pedestrian Thing...Broken | Fixed

I could spend time touting the strong influence of The MinusCar Project over the operations of The City...but it wouldn't be true.

The traffic control was fixed today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's A Pedestrian Thing...

Friday was a windy day. I'm guessing it was windy enough to rearrange some traffic control devices.

The building on the left is a middle school. Further down the block is an elementary school.

I realize kids don't walk to school like they used to but...

I'm sure glad my kids don't have to cross at this crosswalk.

I called Friday to let "them" know there was a problem here. Apparently the "them" I called weren't the "them" that "they're" talking about when "they" talk about the "them" that fix traffic control devices.

I still think I called the right people, that this possibly fits in the protect portion of "their" motto. Besides, the street department wasn't open at 5:30pm on Friday.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My Non-existent Inner Gardener

Contains Apple Juice Concentrate from the U.S.A., Argentina, Austria, Chile, Germany and Turkey. – McDonalds Minute Maid Apple Juice

I’ve noticed a little more than usual the conversations taking place regarding food. My main interest in these stories is the large number of miles food travels to get in my grocery store.

A few weeks ago I was practicing the annual ritual of trimming the perennials, preparing them for a new season of growth. I began to realize caring for our plants, as tedious as it is, actually is a homeowner task that time has proven enjoyable.

I decided to expand the hobby.

Today The Family planted radishes, carrots, beans, peas, onions and tomatoes. In the ground. Intending them to grow. I guess this is what they used to do before curbside service. Maybe even before drive-thru. I don’t know for sure.

So far it seems remarkably easy. We put these little things on the ground, they call them seeds. Then we covered them with dirt. If all goes according to plan, in a few weeks and months they will magically transform into food. Edible. Healthy. Food. Miracle?

The Boy 8 and I are clear, McNuggets don’t grow in gardens. The Boy 4 is the vegetable eater. He’s probably in the best position out of all of us to recognize that garden vegetables taste better.

Report: May 1-7

Trips -
MinusCar: 12
Multi-occupant Auto: 6
Single occupant Auto: 1

I was alone in my car once this week. I rode home from work and used the car for the end of day pickup of The Boys.

My Car Miles: 21
My Bike Miles/Hours: 91.8/6.4

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Speaking of Faith: The Evolution of American Evangelicalism

I'm enjoying my week off. Are you?

I guess it's true. Evangelical leadership can evolve.

The website - here.

The mp3 - here.

The transcript - here.

I haven't heard, read or looked at anything. Yet.

Perhaps I'll hate it.


I didn't hate it.
"I think that there are evangelical Christian leaders who are taking a position on climate change today by saying, "Well, it doesn't matter. We don't care," not unlike our fathers who took a position on civil rights that said, "It doesn't matter. I don't care." And they discredited the gospel and themselves, and they had to apologize. And I dare say it won't be long before some of the evangelical leaders who have said, "Don't matter, don't care," that they'll have to apologize."
"'s impossible to separate global hunger from global warming because the emission of, you know, seven billion metric tons of greenhouse gases annually is creating a warming effect, which is producing desertification in not a long period of time, the fresh water available in sub-Saharan Africa is going to be gone, gone, and we are going to experience wars over water. Now, this is an awful thing to imagine. So loving your neighbor means doing something about that."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Public Service Announcement

The Evangelical Climate Initiative

If it were really true that religion is the opiate of the people then I suspect issues of World Magazine would cost somewhere in the $125 range.

Friend Noel left a helpful link attached to my James Dobson post. I’d like to pull that out of comment obscurity and bring it right here to lead my post about evangelicals that Dobson is frustrated with.

(Initially I was going to specifically write about Richard Cizik. Cizik is the National Association of Evangelicals Vice President for Government Affairs. This week he’s going to be on American Public Media’s Speaking of Faith. The show will be freely available by podcast on Thursday. DO IT! But be careful, public media is known to be radical, for example this will be a 50-plus minute conversation between two people. When they interrupt each other they'll actually be sorry.)

World Magazine April 22, 2006: Greener than thou: Earth Day 2006 arrives with some evangelicals making a controversial push for radical environmental legislation

This article provides a glimpse from the “right” side at the rift between the evangelicals who are wasting their time on climate change and those who are…um…not. I highly recommend reading it. It introduces all the characters.

The article is dubious though…

The “push for radical environmental legislation” that the subtitle mentions is actually the approach affirmed by our US Senate in the Domenici-Bingaman resolution. This resolution was adopted in June 2005, back when the Senate was known to be radical and out of touch with reality. This push for legislation is one paragraph of a 26 paragraph document.

The first paragraph of the article suggests that the April Earth Day Gloom-a-thon (Time Magazine and 60 Minutes specifically) shaped these people’s opinions. The document was introduced in February and had little to do with Earth Day. The core individuals involved have been working on climate change since 2004.

Go here and see the radical action steps the Evangelical Climate Initiative recommends - “10 Things You Can Do as an Individual and Family Member.” The first one is to pray. That's a pretty good hint at just how radical these people are.

Here is an article about the rift from the New York Times perspective - Evangelical Leaders Join Global Warming Initiative

Here is a perspective from document signer Jim Wallis of Sojourner’s Magazine - An Evangelical Climate Change: 'I'm tired of those old white guys telling us what to think and do.'

Friday, May 05, 2006

Report: April 24-30

We had a The MinusCar Project board meeting this morning. It’s customary that these meetings take place on bicycles. Everybody was cold. The temperature was 38 degrees. Nobody wanted to talk about global warming. It was clear everybody was a little nervous about recent statements regarding Dr James Dobson. We all agreed, after the weekend special post, to take a week off from posting.

Trips -
MinusCar: 10
Multi-occupant Auto: 4
Single occupant Auto: 3

The board was pleased with last week’s MinusCar results. They’re encouraging me to try to get at least one recreational ride per week to get over 100. Posting less will help in that area too.

My Car Miles: 41
My Bike Miles/Hours: 85.6/6.1

PS. The board is made up of me and the duck that flew in front of me for about 30 yards. We negotiated three turns together, gave each other the nod, and parted ways.

Dr. James Dobson v The Theology of the Body and God’s Calling

From the April 17 Focus On the Family radio show. Repeated April 27. I recommend the April 17 show because the statement is at the beginning.

Dr Dobson is addressing a California Senate bill 1437. As part of his concern over the bill, he says this:
“Pardon me for what I'm about to say cause it's going to irritate some people too…”
Does that validate or invalidate my irritation?
“We have some evangelical ministers all across the country who are devoting their time and energy to environmental issues such as global warming and other things which are controversial (we're not sure where the science is going to come down on that) and are not talking about moral issues like this [California Senate bill].”
Here are some accompanying study questions:

Is Dr Dobson saying he gets frustrated with evangelical ministers that focus on controversial issues? Is that limited to the ones who focus on the environment or does it include the ones who focus on homosexuality, or abortion? What about the ones who focus on the family? If it's just the environment, why?

Recommended reading: Focus on the Family: A Statement on the Environment (pdf)

Do Dr Dobson's comments infringe on the theology of the church being the body of Christ?

Do Dr Dobson's comments infringe on God’s calling some people to specific forms of ministry?

When Dr Dobson says science, what does he mean?

Expect a special posting this weekend about one of the evangelical ministers Dr Dobson is so frustrated with.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hold the Press: Did He Just Say That?

"What has to happen there is American's just gotta cut back...and I don't know if they will or not. It's up to the folks."

Bill O'Reilly on high gas prices - The Radio Factor 5/1 or 2 or something.

This sounds a lot different from last week when he went on day after day about a handful of nameless people who are manipulating gas prices.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

I need to offer thanks to White Open Spaces and A Progressive on the Prairie for enjoying with me my appearance on the local news last week. I appreciate the referral hits gentlemen but let’s get the story strait.

My friend at White Open Spaces and I have been going back and forth more than usual lately but we have a trust that we'll avoid colliding. He said this, “…while I may disagree with the reasoning behind his decision...”

In a world where everything is true and everything is false…
Remember my story of the Blockbuster Video employee telling me they had just been cleared to put Paper Clips back on the shelf, even though two months prior Corporate Blockbuster had assured the Anti-Defamation League that the story of its removal wasn't true?
As part of the HB1190 effort over the definition of vehicle, on February 6 a state legislator sent an e-mail to a local cyclist telling him this:

"...I voted for HB 1190 in the House Transportation Committee...I voted for it on the House Floor...The Bill then went to the Senate where it passed the Judiciary Committee...and today it passed the Senate Floor..."

"I realize that a lot of bicyclist(sic) are worried that they will lose 'rights of the road' with this Bill. I have to respectfully disagree, but time will tell. If there is a problem that develops, I think we can revisit the issue next year."

Unfortunately for Rep. Willadsen of Sioux Falls, five days prior the Senate Judiciary amended the bill in exactly the way those worried bicyclists had requested.
Do you suppose stuff like this happens in the worlds of science, religion and national government?

Is the climate crisis real? Is my reasoning sound? What is true and what is false? I don't know.

I know for sure that I have been given a choice between a red pill and a blue pill, and I choose this because something else hasn’t come to mind. I know for sure that there are things about The Creator’s love for creation that I had forgotten and now remember. Surely White Open Spaces would find these things agreeable.

I know for sure that even if the climate crisis is some sort of naturally occurring weather pattern, or it’s somehow part of God’s plan for creation that my President would actually tell his country that it's addicted to oil, or that it’s natural evolution that my country would inordinately contribute to something that scientists the world over say is a crisis, or whatever else it might be…it’s very hard to be disagreeable with extra time with The Boys while we walk or ride the bus, extra exercise, or extra money in the pocket.

White Open Spaces went on to say that cycling is “far from convenient.” Here are some recent inconvenient highlights in reverse chronological order:

This morning on the way to work I got a polite nod from a local bike shop owner.

This morning on the way to work I talked with two people walking on the bike trail. I worked with both of them in my first job out of college. One was a bridesmaid in my wedding and a friend of The Wife since high school.

This morning on the way to work I saw a Canadian goose honking by the river. With every honk the fog of its breath shrouded its head and yeah, the sunlight glistened through it.

This morning on the way to work I rode bikes to school with The Boy 8 and his friend. We rolled past 12 cars waiting in line for the parking lot.

Yesterday I got two hours of exercise. I rode to and from work, went to the bank, My LBS, the coffee shop and one other downtown business. I went a little out of my way for some extra minutes and I fixed two flat tires. I’d like to see anyone do all that in less time for less money and less carbon emissions using a car and a health club. I'll even toss out fixing two flat tires.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Day the Tires And Things Went Flat

Did I ever tell you about the time my story got turned down by Good Morning America?

Once upon a time I read that flat tires are more likely in the rain because water acts as a lubricant for road derbis. It assists sharp pointy objects in their innate quest to deflate inner tubes. I don’t know if it’s true, but it sounds awful good to me.

This morning I found myself off the side of the road fixing a flat tire. It rained most of the weekend. The roads were moist. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a bike tire becoming flat. First I wonder if I’m working harder than usual. Then I wonder why things feel so squishy. Then I realize I’ll be off the bike in a moment.

During my time at the side of the heavily trafficked road two friendly automobile drivers stopped to offer rides. To the first I said I was going to suffer for a bit longer. To the second (he had a “What’s for dinner?” advertisement on the side of his vehicle) I declined after he responded in the negative to my inquiry about whether he came with some dinner.

Later in the commute, as I waited at a red light, a pedestrian approached and walked in front of me. He was pulling his bicycle beside him. He was not pleased and I smiled when I noticed his flat rear tire.

I scored some extra miles and MinusCar points over the lunch hour when I rode to the bank (got to plan for the future don’t you know) and to My LBS for some more air. To fix the morning’s flat tire I had used up the two cartridges I carry. I purchased four CO2 cartridges to replace the two I had used.

Take a moment and enjoy the irony of The MinusCar Project’s reliance on CO2.

During the afternoon Jim from the Good Morning America show called to let me know they weren’t going to use the KSFY story. His first question, "Did you ride to work today?" I'm glad he didn't ask me that Friday when we talked. I would have had to say no.

What did you do this weekend?

After work I dressed and retrieved my bike. I found the front tire f…l…a…t. I dug out the cartridges I had purchased over lunch and repaired the front tire. No vehicles stopped to help because I was in the basement of building number 2. One thing I noticed about fixing a flat in the relative comfort of a building, it’s a lot easier to find a pin prick of a hole in an inner tube when it doesn’t have to compete against a 15mph wind.